Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate

May 31, 2012

“With just days to go before the kick-off of the Euro 2012 championships, Panorama reveals shocking new evidence of racist violence and anti-semitism at the heart of Polish and Ukrainian football and asks whether tournament organiser UEFA should have chosen both nations to host the prestigious event.” YouTube: 1/2, 2/2. BBC Panorama – Euro 2012 – Stadiums Of Hate (Full Episode)

BBC – Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate
“With just days to go before the kick-off of the Euro 2012 championships, Panorama reveals shocking new evidence of racist violence and anti-Semitism at the heart of Polish and Ukrainian football and asks whether tournament organiser UEFA should have chosen both nations to host the prestigious event.” BBC

Stadiums of Hate or Sensationalist Journalism?
“Anti-Semitic chanting, monkey noises, Nazi graffiti and a former captain of England, Sol Campbell giving the juiciest of pull quotes: “Don’t go to EURO 2012, or you might come back in a coffin.” The BBC’s flagship documentary programme, Panorama, has it all. But does the documentary, broadcast to a probably horrified audience in the UK on Monday, give a true picture of how dangerous it will be for Black, Asian, or Jewish fans visiting matches in Poland and Ukraine?” New Eastern Europe

Panorama: Stadiums of Hate – a Polish fan’s response from the stands
“Crossing the line is a tough thing to do, even if you step on someone’s foot or make a mistake that hurts. When the BBC aired their Panorama: Stadiums of Hate programme just few days before Euro 2012 kicks off, one would think that the state of Polish football is determined by what is happening on the stands. And if you are to believe the programme there is Nazism, racism and anti-Semitism everywhere.” Independent

Milan – Warning Signs

May 31, 2012

“By most people’s standards Milan have just enjoyed a pretty good season. They were runners-up in the league, only behind an undefeated Juventus; they reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League before being eliminated by the mighty Barcelona; and lost in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia. However, it was still a disappointment, as they had established a healthy lead in the race to the scudetto, and it was a backward step compared to the previous season, when they had won Serie A for the 18th time.” Swiss Ramble

Euro 2012 – The Runners & Riders: Spain

May 31, 2012

“From perennial under-achievers to perpetual favourites in considerably less than ten years, the first decade of the twenty-first century was the one that transformed the world’s perception of the Spanish national football team. Spain began the new century living very much down to people’s expectations, with a quarter-final defeat at the 2000 European Championships being followed up with a quarter-final defeat in the World Cup two years later and a first round elimination at Euro 2004. At some time around the middle of the decade, though, something clicked and Spain became all-conquering and fearsome. They matched France’s turn of the century achievement of winning the European Championships and the World Cup back-to-back – albeit in reverse order – and go into this summers finals as the favourites to win the tournament again.” twohundredpercent

For Croatia
“As has sadly become a hallmark of Slaven Bilic’s managerial reign, Croatia made tough work of their eventually successful qualification campaign. Having, as Scott Carson will no doubt remember, trumped England to the last European Championships, Croatia failed to make the cut for the 2010 South African World Cup. Here then, drawn in a relatively manageable qualification group, Croatia looked certain to shake off the blip in their progress that was 2010 and ride happily into the Ukrainian-Polish sunset. But as is often the case in qualification groups spread over long months and years, the perceived most formidable nation didn’t prevail, as seasoned underdogs and overachievers Greece, enjoying more footballing than economic success, finished top of the group.” In Bed With Maradona

ZM’s European Team of the Year 2011/12

May 31, 2012

“It’s that time of year again. Minimal explanation needed – eleven starts and eleven substitutes.” Zonal Marking

Latest Italian match-fixing scandal met with both fury and weary resignation

May 28, 2012

“With a major international football tournament on the horizon Italy has once again been seized by a huge investigation into match-fixing. As yet it hasn’t reached the magnitude of the 2006 Calciopoli affair, which presaged Italy’s World Cup triumph, but after police raided both the quarters of the national team and the home of Antonio Conte, manager of the Italian champions, Juventus, it’s set to make as least as big a splash. The roots of the latest scandal lie in the summer of 2011. After a member of Serie B side Cremonese suffered a serious car crash, tests showed that he and other members of the team had been drugged with sleeping pills.” Guardian – James Richardson

Italy’s Euro 2012 camp hit by dawn police raid
“An Italian footballer has pulled out of Italy’s national squad just days before the European football championships after he was placed under investigation in a widening match-fixing scandal. Police officers swooped on the Italian national squad’s training camp at dawn on Monday to search the room of defender Domenico Criscito and inform him that he is under investigation.” Guardian (Video)

The history of Ajax from 1945-2012

May 28, 2012

“It took just three weeks for Dutch football to get back up and running again following the country’s liberation from German occupation. The previous five years had been a harrowing period of time for the country, an experience that had afflicted an immeasurable amount of damage to its inhabitants. The decision to usher the return of football so soon after the conclusion of war was sagacious, as a need to get life back to some form of normality was required.” World Soccer

Euro 2012: The Runners & Riders – Denmark

May 28, 2012

“It seems inconceivable that anyone will be able to mention Denmark in relation to the European Championships without turning the clock back twenty years, to when the Danes were hastily assembled following the forced withdrawal of Yugoslavia from that summers tournament in Sweden and then went and won the entire tournament. The Danes haven’t been quite as fortunate since, but they are a team that consigned one of their group opponents in this summers tournament to a play-off place. Even though they start this tournament as the outsiders to get through the group stages, it would be foolish to merely write them off as cannon fodder for Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal.” twohundredpercent

For Denmark
“If the tournament was to be decided by experience, Denmark would win hands down. Coach Morten Olsen is preparing to lead the Danes into a major tournament for the fourth time. Few coaches in world football can compete with that record and that is a testament to the popularity of the Dane in his home land as well as the expectations placed on him that he is still seen as the man to lead the Vikings into the tournament.” In Bed With Maradona